And just like that, it’s time for fall processing. Let’s look closely at what we’ll need to give our weaning-aged calves a leg-up in their next stage of life.
For this age group, in the fall I prefer an oral drench dewormer, because it better controls parasites for this group based on some recent studies. Next Spring, I’d recommend a pour-on or an injectable because it gets those ectoparasites, as well. Now, the newest thing for deworming cattle is to use combination deworming methods, where you give two different classes of dewormers at the same time, such as you might give both a pour-on and an oral drench. That’s also a very effective combination to control parasites, lice and flies.
We can use fecal samples to monitor for parasite load and measure how effective our deworming program is. It's been shown that it's actually much more accurate to monitor fecals in calves instead of cows, because it shows a more accurate representation of the parasite load in your pasture area. A fecal egg count reduction test (FECRT) would tell us how effective your dewormers are; steps for an FECRT include:
Retrieve sample from a calf.
Deworm the calf.
Two weeks later, retrieve sample from the same calf.
Confirm results from your veterinarian – an effective deworming should show a 95% reduction in those egg counts.
With this information, along with insight from your veterinarian, I hope you feel well-prepared for fall processing. Stay tuned for more tips, and continue learning at ValleyVet.com.